Book lovers in Netherlands are in for a treat as the country celebrates its highly-anticipated Boekenweek, an annual week-long event dedicated to Dutch literature. It has been held yearly since 1932 and now readers are even offered the reward of a free train ride.
According to reports, commuters only need to present a book instead of a ticket and they won’t be charged for the ride. That is, of course, one title in particular.
In an Independent article, we read that the “special book” this year is “the novel Jas Van Belofte by celebrated author Jan Siebelink.” Copies of the book were given out for free by bookstores to customers who buy at least €12.50 worth of Dutch-language books. Passengers then present the book on any train across the country on Sunday during the book week to avail of the free ride.
The website also tells us that Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the state railway company, “has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities – and even organizes book readings signings by top authors on its trains.” NS has been offering free rides for 18 years now and, said in an official statement that the company “has a warm heart for reading, because reading is one of the favorite ways to spend time on the train.”
Meanwhile, author Jan Siebelink also joined some passengers boarding a train to Utrecht city and he’s been happy to meet the fans.
“It is good to see all those happily surprised faces of travellers. We are talking about everything, including their journey. A traveller just said he was on his way to Velp, my birthplace. Often there are also children and I naturally hope that they start reading. That’s what we do it for.”
Murat Isik, author of the annual book week essay, also said:
“How incredibly beautiful and dynamic to meet readers on the train. Unfortunately, this is also the end of Book Week. A week full of wonderful meetings and conversations.”
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